Public Comment for
Hurricane Management

twitterlinkedin

Hurricane Management: Leadership and Followership in Dealing With Disaster

And do not neglect doing good and sharing,
for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
— Hebrews 13:16

“We are dying here,” said the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Hurricanes flattened the island and knocked out communications and roadways. A generous nation responded and over 3,000 cargo containers were unloaded at the water’s edge waiting for transport.

It is true that Big Government can do Big Things, like win World Wars and put a man on the moon.

But sometimes, bigger is not better. Even when the challenge is enormous.

Disaster relief efforts require time, talent and treasure to deliver supplies. But in a tragedy where infrastructure is impassable, time is removed from this equation. Treasure was piled up in containers at the seaports. This leaves only talent to get food and water distributed before time runs out.

This is when leadership (inspiration) and management (execution) and followership (recommendations) are needed. Big government cannot do this all — and here Edmund Burke’s “little platoons” step in. Burke said that in society we live in small groups and these are “the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind.”

Read the article here:

After reading the entire article, post a comment below

twitterlinkedinyoutube

You may also like...

25 Responses

  1. Richelle A Torres says:

    More likely than not, behind a successful project is an effective team who works efficiently and competently, collaborating and working harmoniously with each other. People who work together also boost their talents, skills, communication, and creativity.

    A good example of teamwork I actually thought of was whenever I build a furniture. That big flat box that I carry inside the house along with a piece of paper inside that has their instructions on how to build my furniture from point a to z. In order for me to perfectly build my furniture, its directions must be clear and all its materials can easily be identified. The leader who was tasked to read the instructions must communicate clearly, directing what tools and planks to use to attach one piece from the other. Team members are free to ask questions (no judgement) and listen intently rather than find complains regarding the product. Teams move coherently with each other to find the best spot to install that one screw to the boards. Of course, there were times that some items are missing and this is where creativity of the team will be tested. Either the team will need to be resourceful and find a fix to make your furniture still look perfect or make a new stuff out of those materials that cannot be corrected like a mini table!

    It is actually rewarding whenever we get to finish a project. It is likewise the building of relationships that you get to know your team as you work with them on a simple to a more complex task.

  2. Christopher Resetar says:

    As I read this article about the “wisdom of crowds” I thought back to some classes on statistics that I took in undergrad at the University of Maryland. In those classes the wisdom of crowds was a frequently discussed topic as were things like mean, median, mode and other statistical principles. However, discussions of the wisdom of crowds often came with a caveat that I think is critical for understanding the purpose of this article. That caveat was what I have nicknamed the follow the leader principal.

    At its core, the follow the leader principal is that if someone is aware of another’s thoughts on the matter they will tailor there own personal view to more closely align with the first person’s view. This chain reaction continues down the line leading to opinions that are all directly influenced by the first opinion expressed. While this principal can be helpful if the first person to speak is making a good decision evidence shows the decisions are best made if people develop their opinions independently of one another and then come together afterwards or submit their opinion anonymously in some way.

    As it relates to the government at large, in theory, the ideal process for decision making what be to have each advisor or group develop their own opinion and then present it unfiltered and uninfluenced which leaves more room for critical evaluation and once a consensus is built it more closely aligns with the true wisdom of the crowd.

  3. Elizabeth Cabral says:

    I really enjoyed reading your article. I think it brought up some interesting points about teams and leadership. The leader cannot come up with every idea, which is why they need a team. When an organization is struggling, it is important to work with your teams to solve the problem or new challenge ahead. When an employee sees an opportunity for improvement, they should discuss it with their teams. Teams need to be able to trust each other and come up with innovative ideas. By giving people a second to write down their suggestions or solutions, one can avoid groupthink. Then they can discuss and build on each solution by debating all of the solutions that people wrote down. I think you also made an interesting point about the story of David and Goliath. By standing up and trusting in God, one can be prepared for any disaster or problem. Like in business, a team that can depend on one another and trust each other can succeed. Creating trust is essential when building a team because without trust and a safe space to share ideas, people would not feel comfortable sharing their experiences or solutions. Overall, employees should feel comfortable coming to their teams and managers to share ideas and develop solutions for any problem, whether it is caused internally or externally.

  4. Victoria Barros says:

    This article is a great example of how effective a team can work together and how things get done is through collaboration. Often we see this focus on larger projects the leadership has the vision and she/he relies heavily on their followers to get things done. Each follower focuses and manages the expectations based on their talents.

    You are correct, bigger is not better, especially at times when the challenges that are put forth are larger than we can imagine. If you do not have the right group/team and no clear vision it will not matter. I look at the organizational chart in my own work and know that X Y and Z could not execute their goals and work without their “little platoons.” We often hear those praised and thanks from the top, “I could not get this done/ or reach the goal if it was not for my innovation and hardworking team.” I appreciated the section on subsidiarity, taking initiative for action is very important on executing for the follower. It helps the leaders to think like David and ensure that while one plan is being executed other options are also being evaluated in order to complete the full task. This is a great example of collaboration and the cycle of effective leadership and follower relationship.

  5. Alex Kincaid says:

    “The Wisdom of the Crowd” and the power of the crowd cannot be ignored. I think this article does a really excellent job of highlighting the fact that those that are best able to problem solve are those that are closest to the issue. I remember when I was working as the manager for a large day camp program the best way to solve problems that arose systematically with our campers was to get feedback and empower the counselors to problem solve and find solutions. The best way to make changes is to empower followers, but this takes a really strong energized leader to happen effectively. In order for this to go well, the talent that Yoest describes has to be there, and the trust that the talent can handle the responsibility is essential.

  6. Kyle Helfrich says:

    Hi Professor,
    I thought your article was very interesting. There are a few key points that I thought got the core of how to respond in times of crisis or disaster. I think the emphasis on teamwork could not be overstated when considering the impact it can have in the event of a disaster. In recent years hurricanes have struck the United States and I am always so moved to see not just Coast Guard and Police, but everyday citizens and neighbors doing their part to help the community. I think this is something that, unfortunately, is lost in day to day life. People do not extend a helping hand in a normal day, however, disaster can sometimes bring out the best in humanity. For people put aside their differences and remember that we are all neighbors. I also thought your point of community groups, or “little platoons” was very important. Winston Churchill once said, “give us the tools, and we will finish the job.” I think this rings true when it comes to helping those who have been effected by disaster. Whoever can help must provide relief in the form of water and food, but when the community helps in the distribution and rebuilding then the faster people receive aid. I think each of these points show that in broader sense that leaders who include the help of everyone tend to more successful. This helps create a sense that we are all working towards a common goal, and in my experience there is nothing more powerful than that.

  7. Colin Klingman says:

    I really enjoyed reading this great article. My favorite piece of information in the article is the statement “the best leaders push the decision making down the organizational chart closest to the individuals doing the work.” I think this statement emphasizes the importance of being aware of your situation, and being aware of the needs of the people around you. Decisions do not need to be made from the person in charge. In many situations regarding a crisis or change, it may be smart to give the people who are more involved or connected with the crisis, the power to inspire and motivate others. If so, the leader needs to offer guidance and direction, but can give responsibility to the people below them. As a leader, if we can give more say to our followers and make our followers feel more power, decisions can be easier. I agree that it is easier to make a decision with 15 people in the room, especially if everyone is invested on the topic.

    Colin

  8. William Duke says:

    I found Professor Yoest’s analysis on a variety of world issues to be extremely important and impactful. First, I found that often, the most important instances of leadership come in times of crisis when many people cannot or do not want to help. The example of the hurricane in Puerto Rico shows that leaders must be swift and understanding of how their actions will play out as time moves on. Along with this, the concept of subsidiarity is important to the scope of business and relates greatly to ethical values. I did not know the origination of the word, but believe each organization must understand its definition and application to operate a successful company. Anticipating an event, shift, or transition, is what continues to keep successful companies at the top year-in and year-out. These companies are able to understand that in an ever-changing world where new companies are continuously popping up, that they must adjust their product or service often. The concept of subsidiarity allows companies to be ready for any circumstance that may occur and is essential for employee success and morale as well. Employees who are knowingly ready for anything can use more energy on being productive each day with the confidence that they will be to adjust.

  9. NS says:

    I believe community is a tremendous asset and is certainly needed when management (or government) is looking for a change. In this instance, as Yoest says, “Disaster relief efforts require time, talent and treasure to deliver supplies.” As an outsider, when disaster hits a location, we typically donate money or resources and then they “magically” appear in the hands of those in need. However, there is a lot of management involved to make this happen. There needs to be buy-in from the community affected to make things move efficiently and effectively. If people aren’t on the same page, so to speak, then time will be wasted and treasures will not be used as intended.

  10. Marybeth Osazuwa says:

    After reading this article, I was able to gain much perspective and insight throughout. There were many great points made within the article that were significant to my understanding of leadership. Within the article it states that some of the best leaders send the decision making through an organizational chart, towards the individuals who are completing the work. I absolutely agree with that statement, because it takes individuals to form an organization, and each and everyone within the organization contributes to ensuring the organization is successful and progressing. When organizations have great leaders, the followers observe and see the determination from the leaders and work to emulate the same energy, effort, devotion and time into all that they do within the workforce environment. I firmly believe that a great leader sets the tone for a successful organization and positive work environment. After reading this article I truly gained much knowledge, a true understanding of what great leadership and followership entails. This article was very informative and beneficial for me to read.

  11. DENNIS ayitey GABAH says:

    The article was great to read, i enjoy all the sections as i read through them. Communities and families should definitely stick together in tough times as that will bring them closer to eachother. Tough times and task is not definitely done alone by one person or the person in charge, it takes a handful of people with no egos to collectively think together and come up with ideas to overcome the obstacle. It is true that sometimes in rough times people does not want to help as they feel like they want to just protect their own. concerning the leadsership part, it is definitely easier to brainstorm with the followers to come up with solution as everyone is vested in the topic, the followers also feel empowered to give their input as their knowldge of thinking also helps. in the end its all about making sure the leader in charge allows the followers to know that they are all on the same team, same page and are all working towards a common goal.

  12. Danielle Waldschmidt says:

    This is a great article! Individually we need to understand the individual impact we can have on a community and the importance of working together as a community. We all have influence; we all need to find productive ways to use our influence. It’s too easy to sit back and think something is someone else’s responsibility however we all have the ability to step up find common ground and work together for the benefit of the community.

    The other important reminder from this article was preparing for failure or incorporating methods to deal with obstacles in the planning process. We are all going to run into challenges. How we react to those challenges is going to determine our success. Creating a plan is going to allow us to adequately deal with the obstacle is essential. It could be easy to give up when there is an obstacle.

    The success of seen in Puerto Rico was because the people were able to overcome an obstacle. They found the common ground and worked together for a solution. This is something we should think about more often and find ways to work together to find solutions to common problems. If we commit to these steps great things will be seen.

  13. Solomon Banti says:

    When I read this article, it reminded me of the proverb, “When Spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.” Regardless of the adversary’s size, communities who lived together have shared values, cultures, and responsibilities to deal with and solve their socio-economic problems by helping one another where their unity is trusted and valued. They can bring years of experience and ways of solving problems. Most times, the gap between small communities and big governments is the size of the government’s ability to do big, and the way societies are integrated into solving socio-economic problems better, “but sometimes, bigger is not better.” This responsibility comes with the relationship and trust they have for each other, not covered with bureaucracies or political correctness like governments. There is the wisdom they have gained from their experiences to keep connected and endured with adversaries. David told King Saul, “I cannot go with these (with the king’s Sword, and armor), for I have not proved them” 1 Sa 17-39. David has been training his whole life for situations of this kind and size. And he didn’t need to pick new principles or war styles to defeat his enemy. “The best leaders push the decision-making down the organizational chart closest to the individuals doing the work.” When those who are doing the work are empowered and trusted, they can do miracles and bring change collaboratively in their own proven ways.

  14. kelli doherty says:

    There is some sense of importance when it comes to big groups or companies involvment in disasters such as the hurrican in Puerto Rico. The biggest need from groups/organizations of that size is to gather the bulk of the supplies that are needed to help with such an awful disaster. The steps for these organizations, mostly goverment to decide when is the right time or what are the right steps can take logner than communities in disaster can take. That is when these small groups of leaders and people that care come in to make a much bigger impact than these organizations ever could. The most impactful people to any situation is the community of people that have drive and passion to help any way they can. In this case with the hurricane Big Goverment gathered what was needed but it was basically useless if there was no way for the cargo to get to where it needs to and quickly, without these “little platoons” stepping in to help these supplies would have no use to anyone. Everyone can possess different forms of eladership and skills for any situations no matter the size of the problem and being able to gather even in the smallest of groups to problem solve can create positive change.

  15. Holly Regan says:

    I really enjoyed this article. I have always really enjoyed the concept of subsidiarity and giving responsibility to the lowest tier of worker. The people that are doing the work are the ones that know how those things work the best because they are doing hands on work daily. While these people may have the lowest salaries or be towards the bottom of the organizational chart, they are often the most important to the business. “The best leaders push the decision-making down the organizational chart closest to the individuals doing the work” (Hurricane Management). Like in the article, going to the people in the community for advice on the best way to go about distributing the materials is the same as bringing in individuals doing the most work into decision-making meetings is beneficial to the managers and higher-ups of the company. Giving encouragement and a sense of responsibility to those putting in work on the ground level will keep them motivated and give them a sense of community and importance.

  16. Kelsey Perretta says:

    I think one of the beautiful things about tragedy and hard times is how it brings people together. In times of loss, we provide comfort and show extra love to share the positive things from that person or situation. In times of struggle, we help to pick each other up around us. In the case of hurricanes and leaders, someone needs to facilitate this movement. Change and relief don’t just happen, and I believe in situations like this, the best leaders emerge. After all, I believe the best leaders are those who know how to bring a group together when things are hard. It is easy to lead when everything is easy and good.
    One quote that resonated with me was that ‘Followership takes the initiative for action.” People must be able to help others and know how to benefit a group when times are tough. One person can make a small impact, but when 100 people make a small impact and so forth, the impact becomes bigger!

  17. Matthew Maddatu says:

    When it comes to change management, the concept of subsidiarity is important because it calls for people to become engaged in the change process (Yoest, 2017). People are encouraged to take ownership of the issues that they face. Leaders and managers who are leading the change need to be able to understand how people (their employees) and the organization they lead functions. From the perspective of the Four-Frame Model, which helps to better understand the functional components of an organization, the political frame has to do with advocacy whereas the human resource frame has to do with empowerment (Palmer, Dunford, & Buchanan, 2017). Leaders and managers have the authority and influence to initiate change (political frame) while employees and followers are empowered to make the change.

    Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Buchanan, D. (2017). Managing organizational change?: a multiple perspectives approach (3rd ed.). McGraw-Hill Irwin.

    Yoest, J.W. (2017, October 15). Hurricane management: leadership and followership in dealing with disaster. The Stream. https://stream.org/hurricane-management-leadership-followership-dealing-disaster/

  18. Matthew Maddatu says:

    When it comes to change management, the concept of subsidiarity is important because it calls for people to become engaged in the change process (Yoest, 2017). People are encouraged to take ownership of the issues that they face. Leaders and managers who are leading the change need to be able to understand how people (their employees) and the organization they lead functions. From the perspective of the Four-Frame Model, which helps to better understand the functional components of an organization, the political frame has to do with advocacy whereas the human resource frame has to do with empowerment (Palmer, Dunford, & Buchanan, 2017). Leaders and managers have the authority and influence to initiate change (political frame) while employees and followers are empowered to make the change.

    Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Buchanan, D. (2017). Managing organizational change?: a multiple perspectives approach (3rd ed.). McGraw-Hill Irwin.

    Yoest, J.W. (2017, October 15). Hurricane management: leadership and followership in dealing with disaster. The Stream. https://stream.org/hurricane-management-leadership-followership-dealing-disaster/

  19. Nolan Lundholm says:

    In this world there are no two people that are the same. Every person is uniquely different, and every person has their own gifts and talents. Even among the closest of family members there are vast differences from relative to relative. From people’s different occupations, to their hobbies and unique views, one can see how much time God has put into making each of his children. I guess that is the one thing that we all have in common. We can have different interests and hobbies, but the one thing that we all universally have in common is our maker. No matter how much we differ in thinking or reasoning, there is no denying the fact that we all come from the same place.

  20. Nick Loney says:

    This article presents a unique angle when dealing with crises and potential crises. The buildup to dealing with these issues is understanding the dynamics of leadership as a whole. The author explains this by contending that the federal government, though it has an immense role in cleaning up and helping after hurricane, that leadership cannot be held solely with them. The first part in leadership during a crisis is utilizing the “Wisdoms of Crowds.” This is the idea that a group of people who are motivated and persistent are better judgement than an individual would. This leads into the next idea of a decentralized management. This will help with followership even in the absences of direction. The last and most important idea during a crisis is subsidiary. Subsidiarity is crucial to getting things done. Whether it’s in a crisis or not, the ability to have a staff or group of people come together and address issues. Working at a job, one has to put out a lot of little fires every day. This means not only have the ability to fix the issue but being empowered to do so. If an employee had to come to a central command for every action nothing would ever get done. If all the tools at our disposal during a crisis, big or small, are the same page managers can then empower those within a community not only fix the problem but help the community begin the healing process.

  21. Jess Murtagh says:

    A manager must have a strong team behind them in order to execute organizational changes and goals successfully. These types of objectives cannot be completed alone. As stated in Chapter 7 of The Memo, “A good follower is a good leader in the exercise of power”. A team of followers are able to provide active support and leadership within their completed staff work for their managers. Leadership does not come from just one source. Instead it is a combination of inspiration, execution, and recommendations from all members of the team. That’s what it takes to overcome hurricane-like problems. Like this article states, even when a hurricane, or large challenge presents itself, there is nothing a team, with a mindful leader and strong followers cannot overcome.

  22. Vicente Garcia says:

    I really enjoyed this article about leadership, followership, subsidiarity, and the wisdom of the crowds. There are timeless truths about management here worth learning from and imitating! When I have asked people if they know what subsidiarity is, they say they don’t know, but then they immediately understand it when I explain that it is the catholic social principle about the freedom families and communities should be the first to address their social issues prior to elevating them to higher social units. We live in a society that habitually falls into the trap of the entitlement attitude because of government handouts and people set on gaining power and controlling others. What should be, “It’s our responsibility to keep each other fed, clothed, sheltered, protected, and thriving,” becomes perverted into, “It’s someone else’s job,” or “socialism will solve our woes,” and both mindsets are destructive to the family and society.

    It’s so empowering, to take on that ownership of your role in the community. I do not claim to be perfect at doing so, but I try. As a current example at work, I started a donation drive for Anna’s house, a shelter for victims of domestic violence and homeless people. The reason I thought to do this is to engage and unite my coworkers and my practice’s patients in charitable giving to a local shelter in need of household cleaning supplies and nonperishables. As I have given my “plug” for the drive to patients, practically everyone has been very open to considering taking part and it is so heartening. As this article mentioned, healthy communities will be quick to respond to issues charitably, having the others in mind. I’ve seen that firsthand! I can’t wait to take all of the goods we have collected and bless these families next weekend.

  23. Caitlin Foley says:

    This article was very informative about the strengths and weaknesses of governments and the masses in times of crisis and disaster. Big government can sometimes equal big egos in my opinion. As said in the article, James Surowiecki comments on Aristotle’s wisdom of crowds and suggests that crowds do not have egos and are instead very focused on the problem and getting it done. This is important in times of disasters. Big governments do not carry this attribute of putting their ego’s aside. Governments and government officials have very large egos in my opinion and are always focused on what other countries will think. This may be important in some cases but in the case of disaster relief, egos are not needed – help and focus is needed. This ability of the wisdom of crowds and masses is productive in cases of disaster and is a common pattern in history. For example, in time of the World Wars, the US came together to support the country. This was the result of good leadership but also the result of the people coming together to get what was needed done. Cooperation does not exist without leadership however, even if it’s amongst the crowd. Someone will emerge from the crowds to offer a one voice of reason amongst many voices. The crowd will listen and follow this person and then make a consensus of what to do. It is very interesting to study crowds, how they emerge, and how they interact. It can tell us a lot about how humanity acts, which the article also hints to.

  24. Allyson Flores says:

    Community doesn’t exist without people and their roles in it. With leadership, there is followership. But with followership, doesn’t always mean there is leadership. In times of turmoil and disaster, a leader will emerge out of a community to direct and coach. People will look up to the person who knows the answers and has guidance. Managers will be responsible for funneling the emotions and reactions of the community up towards the leader. With these functions and traits, the leader is looked at as the beholder of information and the one who can keep calm under pressure. Followers of the community cease to his or her wisdom to overcome challenges. In return, the community is supposed to react in a disaster. They will heed to any advice or influence that will carry them forward. Even when no leader is present, followers will follow anything or anyone else. For example, social media creates the image of an influencer. Followership is created for an influencer who has a reason why many people follow them. But influencers are not leaders. Therefore, in the a community of many members, they will find themselves also reacting in the absence of a leader. A strong and resilient community will have these types of leaders, managers, and followers. We create a sense of responsibilities that each of us do that it naturally will fall into everyone’s duties to fix or solve a problem. In a perfect world, everyone would follow the leader. But there are good leaders as there are bad leaders. Followers will find a way in the absence of a good leader. A community can exist without a good leader, but an even better community can exist with its followers in it.

  25. DT says:

    I enjoyed reading your article and appreciated many of the points that you made, especially this one: The best leaders push the decision-making down the organizational chart closest to the individuals doing the work. When I think about my pet-sitting and dog-walking business, I try to follow this philosophy. While I co-own the company with my business partner, I am more of the CEO, and she is more of the COO. We have a number of terrific people working for us, and I trust them to do their jobs well and make good decisions. It can be easy to get bogged down in day-to-day operations so I have been making a conscious effort to delegate more to my business partner and our team members so that I can focus more on higher-level work. I am also reminded of an old job where my supervisor was a micromanager. It was difficult and challenging working for him as I constantly felt that everything I did was scrutinized. Had I known about his management style, I would never have accepted the job. But it was a valuable lesson in how finding the right fit is essential to job success and overall life of quality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *